It is no secret that Google touts social as important, and the search engine is reiterating that focus today by announcing a new social feature combined with local search: Google+ Local.

“Today, we’re rolling out Google+ Local, a simple way to discover and share local information featuring Zagat scores and recommendations from people you trust in Google+,” explained Google’s Director of Product Management Avni Shah on the Official Google Blog.  

Users can search for places under the “Local” tab on the left-hand side of Google+, and once they select a place, they will find a local Google+ page equipped with photos, Zagat scores and summaries, reviews from people in their circles, and other related information.

Google+ Local also integrates with Search, Maps, and mobile, so it can streamline the experience across Google. It is rolling out now, including to Android and iOS, so as Shah put it, “if you don’t have it yet feel free to begin furiously refreshing your browser.”

Zagat is a notorious service that offers quality reviews based on user-written submissions and surveys, but Google bought the service last fall. Now, its 30 years of data for tens of thousands of places is a primary focus for Google+ local pages. Each place in Google+ Local highlights Zagat’s 30-point scale. Oh, and do not forget that the opinions of those in your circles will also aggregate. Users can return the favor and submit their opinions and photos for places to help friends make an informed decision when browsing for a local destination.

“The more you contribute, the more helpful Google+ Local will be for your friends, family and everyone else,” Shah added. “Whether it’s a block you’ve lived on for years or a city you’ve never been to before, we hope Google+ Local helps you discover new gems.”

Business owners can continue managing their local listing under Google Places for Business, but Google promises more updates in the coming months to make it easier for businesses to list their local information online, while fully exploiting the social features of local Google+ pages.

More information is available at the Google and Your Business Blog. One more thing: Google dropped a massive hint this morning and indicated “Events” might be right around the corner now that the “Local” feature is live.

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